The case worker has to interview or observe the allegedly victimized child and interview all caregivers and adults at home as well as the reporter of the abuse or neglect. The Division also has to interview you in person (not over the phone, not via email, etc). Case workers often refuse to interview parents who have retained legal representation, but this act violates the agency’s procedure. (It does make the case worker’s job easier, since it speeds up how quickly he or she can file the compliant!)
After the initial investigation, the case worker begins a “formal investigation,” if he or she believes abuse or neglect likely occurred. In doing so, the case worker must examine the strengths and needs of the caregiver and the alleged victim, interview two or more collateral contacts who knew about what happened and interview diverse stakeholders, such as:
- A childcare provider, teacher, or principal who has knowledge of the parents or parental care;
- Any witness who had knowledge of the abuse or neglect;
- Other community professionals who might have had knowledge of the abuse or neglect;
- Any physician involved, even indirectly, in diagnosing or treating the alleged victim;
• Every witness who could provide evidence that you did not abuse or neglect the child. (This is an important point – often, the case worker does not do this. That’s a problem! The division has a mandate from the statute not to prosecute a case against you, like a Prosecutor might, but rather to determine in a neutral fashion whether a child has been abused or neglected and whether the government needs to step in and help that child.
You and your attorney will then need to figure out how to defend against the state’s complaint.
For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 810-1083.